The coaching may not be the problem
It's become a popular pastime around these parts to dissect the various ins and outs, the whys and the why nots of the Brewers season. Turn on one of the many local radio sports call in shows and you hear many "knowledgeable fans" give they're unasked for opnions on everything surrounding this team including the uniform color and the music at Miller Park, to trade rumors and free agent signings.
One of the most popular of late seems to be about possible coaching staff changes. Davy Lopes seems to be at the top of everyone's "first to go" list. The midseason injuries lack off clutch hitting and, of course the Pittsburgh debacle, sent this season spiraling downward faster than A.I. at the box-office, and people are putting it all on Lopes' shoulders.
Is this criticism fair? Granted Lopes has made some questionable decisions (remember the possible game tying lead off triple by Geoff Jenkins during the Colorado series, Lopes put the hit and run on and Jenkins was subsequently thrown out at home, due to a Jose Hernandez line drive ?) But in all fairness, he has been trying to do the baseball equivalent of squeezing blood from a stone, and he cannot be faulted for trying to be aggressive.
This is a young team, and as we've seen, this young team swings...a lot. With the exception of perhaps Burnitz and Loretta the decipline at the plate is close to non existent. Lopes being the old school stalwart, is trying to get an old school message across to these guys, with mixed results. Sexson who was well on his was of being our very own Bobby Bonds, seems to have gotten the kick in the head he needed to cut down on his strokes and looks a lot more relaxed and confident at the plate.
The point is, Lopes was expected to lead this team out of the central division desert, has been given a team to rebuild, not to transform overnight, he is a well disciplined manager who knows what players need to do to succeed. Given a few seasons (this is only his second year managing a team) to get a semi decent farm system, and maybe some solid free agent pick ups, he will lead this team out of that desert.
Rod Carew and Bob Apodaca may go either way at the end of this season. Carew, the hall of famer, is a well liked member of the coaching staff, but for what ever reason cannot seem to click with the hitters in this lineup. I've heard it said that Carew is too technical in his approach to hitting and that some of these guys are just plain tuning out. I think he'll retire rather than be let go from his second consecutive team as hitting coach. He is a wonderful man, and was a great talent, but that doesn't always transfer to good coaching.
Apodaca may decide to leave on his own, again he is faced with a pitching staff who either doesn't want to, or can't get any use out of his coaching techniques. Being saddled with an extremely young pitching staff, he has experienced tremendous successes (Sheets, Quevedo) and not-so-successes (Haynes, Wright). He knows what these guys are capable of, and when they don't take his suggestions to heart, you can see the frustration all over his face. The walks are too high, the conditioning is lacking, and I think will end up being too much for him to take.