Nyjer Morgan's Record Epitomizes Brewers' Struggles

Nyjer Morgan #2 of the Milwaukee Brewers poses in the dugout during the MLB game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

It's been a rough season for the Milwaukee Brewers. Fresh off a 96-win season that ended with a hard-fought postseason loss to the eventual World Champions, the Brewers figured, at the very least, to be in the hunt for another postseason berth this year.

Instead they're seven games out of first place and seven games under .500.

In a related note, Nyjer Morgan's working on some sort of record. As discovered by our colleagues Brew Crew Ball:

About two weeks ago I wrote a post about an odd statistical quirk involving Nyjer Morgan, who at that point had set a Brewer franchise record by opening the season with 98 consecutive plate appearances without an RBI. I never expected to end up writing a follow-up to that post, but here we are: Morgan has hit .290/.371/.290 in 36 plate appearances since that post, but is still looking for RBI #1.

Morgan made four plate appearances last night and is now up to 134 this season. His 120 at bats to start a season without an RBI are a new major league record*, and he's only the seventh NL player since 1918 and the first since 1969 to break 100 ...

* For non-pitchers. Also, B-Ref's game-by-game data only goes back to 1918, so it's possible there are others from before then.

Last year, Morgan was one of the big reasons for the Brewers' success; after coming from the Nationals in a trade just before Opening Day, Morgan batted 304/357/421 and played outstanding defense in his 119 games. This season he's been among the league's very worst hitters, and his defensive metrics have tumbled too.

Of course Morgan's not alone. Rickie Weeks was another big reason for the Brewers' success last season, and he's been nearly as terrible as Morgan this season. Somehow, and this seems almost impossible, Weeks sports a .153 batting average while playing almost every day. And this comes after three seasons in which Weeks' OPS+'s were 125, 123 and 121 (this season it's 56).

With both of those guys, all you can do is keep writing their names on the lineup card, because they've been good before and you're not going to win without them. It's gotta be frustrating, though. And it's worth mentioning that even with two black holes in the lineup, the Brewers still rank sixth in the National League in scoring.

The real problem's been the pitching/defense, as Milwaukee's starters rank 13th in the National League with a 4.34 ERA, their relievers 14th at 4.43.

Last year, with mostly the same guys, they were sixth and fifth. Which just goes to show how much can change in one year, especially if you're looking at less than two months of numbers in the second year.

Morgan and Weeks will probably come around, and so will the pitchers. It might be too late, though.

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