Brewers struggles could be tied to disturbing trend to start games

The Milwaukee Brewers just can’t get off to a quick start

If you want to figure out why the Milwaukee Brewers are 13-16, there’s one simple explanation: They concede first. A lot.

In fact, the Brewers have given up the first run in 23 of their 30 games so far, including Thursday night’s outing against the Cincinnati Reds. That disturbing trend that was pointed out by Adam McCalvy of MLB.com.

In the case of Thursday’s game, the opening run of the game came on an 0-2 pitch with Josh Lindblom failing to take down Kyle Farmer. Another run soon followed.

Nor was that the first time on Thursday the Brewers fell behind early. They were trailing 3-0 by the end of the third inning in the first game of the double-header.

Giving up early runs has buried the Milwaukee Brewers

Sometimes, sports are simple. Sure, there are complex factors that contribute to every win and loss. At the same time, wins and losses can come down to the most basic principles. For example, if you let your opponent score first, you’re less likely to win the game. We’re seeing that principle play out with the Brewers, who are 2.5 games out from a Wild Card spot.

It’s not that the Brewers have given up an untenable number of runs. They’re 14th in MLB this season. Troublingly, they are 27th in runs scored themselves. Even that doesn’t tell the whole story.

More numbers help explain how it’s all about timing. Milwaukee has an unbelievably bad 40-6 run differential in the first three innings, according to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Put that another way, the Brewers average 1.3 runs given up in the first three innings while themselves averaging 0.2. It’s just cringeworthy no matter how you slice it.

They’re just starting slow on the mound and at the plate. Maybe they need more energy drinks in the clubhouse. Whatever it is, something has to change.

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