Losing is getting Brewers' goat

SIDELIGHT

May 26, 1994|By Tom Keegan | Tom Keegan,Sun Staff Writer

MILWAUKEE -- The Milwaukee Brewers are guaranteed of having their most productive day in more than two weeks today. They are idle.

The Brewers' losing streak grew to 14 games yesterday when they spotted the Orioles five runs in the first and couldn't catch up, losing, 6-3.

Manager Phil Garner saw in the Orioles a model of what he would like his Brewers to become.

"Since I've been in the American League, they have reminded me of the Orioles of old," Garner said. "They don't make too many mistakes. When they don't win, it's because they made you beat them. They don't hand it to you on a platter."

Garner was amazed to hear the job security of Orioles manager Johnny Oates had been questioned earlier in the week.

"It would be a mistake to even consider that," Garner said. "You know when you are playing against teams, you know the guys who are having some trouble managing, and Johnny's not having any trouble. He's tough to manage against. He is in some ways predictable, but I think he's that way because he likes his odds."

Asked about the job security of Garner, Brewers general manager Sal Bando said before yesterday's game that Garner has no cause for concern.

"I totally support him," Bando said. "Maybe it's because I played the game, but I still haven't figured out how a manager hits and pitches for you and fields for you. Until someone can prove he can do that for a guy, the blame doesn't lie there."

The blame lies everywhere. The Brewers have not done anything well during the streak.

"I think some of the guys are playing not to lose," Garner said. "To me, the definition of playing not to lose is a guy thinking I don't want to make a mistake here."

During the streak, Milwaukee's starting pitchers have posted a 7.56 ERA. Ace Cal Eldred has gone 0-3 with a 10.51 ERA during the streak and the bullpen has allowed 15 of 30 inherited runners to score.

Playing without injured leadoff hitter Darryl Hamilton, the Brewers have used five different players at the top of the order and they have combined to hit .161.

"I've never been through anything like this," Garner said. "Things just keep getting worse and worse. I don't know if there is any good way of handling something like this."

The Brewers even tried a desperate stunt before the second game against the Orioles, marching a goat around the field before the game. The goat, supposedly a direct descendant of the goat banned from Wrigley Field during the 1945 World Series, was marched around Wrigley the day the Cubs broke their 12-game losing streak.

The owner of the original goat, a tavern owner in Chicago, put a curse on the Cubs when his goat was denied admission to the World Series and the Cubs have not been back since.

The Brewers, who built a 17-14 start before the streak, continue to have too many goats during games for any pre-game goat to make a difference.

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