The Bucks have pushed me over the edge as of late. We are so lucky that Opening Day for the MLB is tomorrow. In this article, I’ll rant a little bit about the Bucks and then discuss the current state of the Brewers going into the 2018 season.
The Bucks are Bringing the Death Penalty Back to Wisconsin
I’ll start by saying I have never been this confused in my life. I’ve taken a statistics course in college, I’ve seen the movie Inception, and I’ve seen Bleacher Report pick Willson Contreras as their favorite to win the National League MVP in 2018. Nevertheless, I have never been this confused on a subject or topic in my life. Why are the Milwaukee Bucks so mediocre?
This is a question that every Bucks fan has asked themselves over the past month. They can’t seem to get it going on the defensive end of the court. Giannis has done everything he can to take this team to the next level, but it just isn’t happening. Who is to blame? At this point, I have no idea. I am at a loss for words after almost every Bucks loss. Wins aren’t even satisfying anymore because you expect them to win every game. That may seem extreme, but this is a team that was slated as an Eastern Conference champion contender at the beginning of the season (if you can even believe that). I wrote an article at the beginning of the month discussing the Bucks struggles, and nothing has seemed to change. I have run out of excuses as to why the Bucks are so garbage.
When looking at some of the stats for the Bucks, I really don’t know what to think. There are some promising signs defensively. They are 4th in the NBA in steals per game with 8.6 and 5th in the NBA in blocks per game with 5.5. The Bucks only allow 9.6 fast break points per game, tied for the best in the League. They have held teams to 83.3 field goal attempts per game. This is 4th best in the NBA. The stat that stands out to me and points to problems is that teams are shooting 37.3% from behind the arc. This ranks 26th worst in the league out of 30 teams. Having watched a majority of games, poor defensive sets and a lack of quick switches have allowed opponents to take a lot of open threes. This has been killing the Bucks. They fight and crawl back into games, and then get killed by the three. The Bucks only score 24.8% of their points off of the three for a rank of 28th in the league. The three point shot is so big in today’s NBA, and the Bucks are clearly behind the trend.
The Bucks have given up 110.5 points per game in March. They are 6-7 during that stretch. There has never been an issue scoring the ball with this team, though. They are putting up 110.8 points per game during the current month. With only 8 games left in the season, the Bucks need a lot of pieces to fall into place to have a favorable playoff matchup. They currently sit 8th in the East, setting them up for a death sentence of a series against Toronto (hence the headline). The Bucks continue their push down the stretch against the Warriors Thursday night in Oakland.
Opening Day is Upon Us
It almost feels like Christmas Eve. I will probably struggle to fall asleep tonight in anticipation of tomorrow’s festivities. Opening Day for the MLB is tomorrow and there is more anticipation than ever in the state of Wisconsin. The Brewers have only made four playoff appearances in their history and the 2018 team is poised to make that number grow to five. Chase Anderson will get the start in San Diego on Thursday to kick off what should be a very exciting season for the Crew. With such high expectations comes the possibility of great disappointment. The Brewers finished last year with an 86-76 record, and many experts are picking them to finish worse off than their 2017 record. Not to pick on them (absolutely to pick on them), but Bleacher Report picked the Brewers to finish with a 62-100 record last season. Whatever the experts say has never really had much meaning, and I believe the Brewers will contend for a playoff spot in 2018.
It is true that the Brewers need a lot of things to go right within their starting rotation to stay competitive. They lost Wade Miley to injury in Spring Training, a pitcher who had been performing very well and earned his spot on the roster. He will return at some point in the season, as the team worked out a deal to keep him at the club. The Brewers will start the year without their ace, Jimmy Nelson. Their rotation will be Chase Anderson, Jhoulys Chacin, Brent Suter, and Zach Davies to start the year. Because of the off day on April 1, they will not use a fifth starter until needed in the Cubs series. The fifth starter will be Brandon Woodruff, a promising young pitcher in the organization. GM David Stearns has taken an approach that many fans disagree with. Instead of spending big money on a free agent starter, Stearns wants to give the young pitchers an opportunity to make an impact at the club. In my opinion, there is no reason to root against any move that Stearns makes, as he hasn’t missed a beat yet.
The Brewers opening day lineup should look something like this:
- Cain CF
- Yelich LF
- Braun 1B
- Shaw 3B
- Santana RF
- Piña C
- Villar 2B
- Arcia SS
- Anderson P
Hopefully the Crew can take at least two games in San Diego, as they have a seven game home-stand against the dreaded Cardinals and Cubs the following week. The Brewers open the season tomorrow in San Diego at 3:10 CT on FS Wisconsin. If you aren’t from Wisconsin and want to get a taste of the 2018 Brewers, you can find them on FS1 on Saturday, March 31 at 8:40ET / 7:40CT.