Brewers general manager Doug Melvin called it “unfair” to blame the team’s sluggish start on manager Ken Macha, and said he’s just as frustrated as those clamoring for some early-season changes.
“We’re all a little frustrated right now,” Melvin said Tuesday afternoon, when the Brewers entered their series against the Dodgers with a 10-15 record, 7 1/2 games behind first-place St. Louis in the National League Central with a little more than 15 percent of the season in the books.
“There are at least nine teams in the Major Leagues who are underperforming,” Melvin said. “We’re not performing well, but, Ken, I haven’t seen him swing at a bad breaking ball yet. I haven’t seen him give up two or three runs in an inning. <p/>
“I evaluate myself, too, on these things. … The way we’re playing now, we’re not going to make the playoffs. You have to play better. We expect that.”
Melvin rejoined the club in Los Angeles after a visit to Class A Brevard County and met Monday afternoon with Brewers principal owner Mark Attanasio to evaluate the ballclub before dinner. Melvin downplayed the meeting, saying, “We talk on the phone just about every day.”
The GM then chatted with Macha on Tuesday morning over coffee.
“He watches every game,” Macha said. “[He knows] some guys in the middle of our order are not hitting right now. He knows we’ve been in position to win games but we haven’t closed them off. We talked more about individual people. …
“I go back to last year, when things were ‘squeezing,’” Macha said, referring to the late-season speculation about his job security. “I come to the ballpark, prepare my [behind] off, try to be upbeat with these players, pat them on the back, do our best to win as many games as we can. Maybe at the end of the game Sunday [in San Diego] things fell apart, but for the most part, guys are playing hard. Maybe to the point of having their statistics suffer because they’re trying too hard. …
“[Other than one game], I haven’t gone home at all this year saying, ‘Gosh, I should have done this, or this.’ Self evaluation is maybe blind at times, but that’s the way I feel about it.”