BIG Roundtable: What do you make of Saturday's Brewers game postponement by the Cubs?

Every so often, we poll our iHeartMedia Wisconsin sports personalities for their opinions on Wisconsin sports issues for the BIG Roundtable. Today, we talk about the Brewers' game on Saturday being postponed by the Cubs, and how our perception may be changing given Milwaukee's early-season success.

Today's panel on the BIG Roundtable:

-Mike Heller, host of The Mike Heller Show statewide @HellerSports
-Drew Olson, host of The Drew Olson Show in Milwaukee and co-host of The Mike Heller Show @DrewOlsonMKE
-Brian Posick, iHeart Milwaukee/Madison sports director and the voice of Wisconsin hockey @brian_posick
-Jon Arias, producer/host of The Mike Heller Show and the WBA's Large Market PBP person of the year @jonariasradio
-Armen Saryan, producer/host of The Drew Olson Show in Milwaukee @ArmenSaryan
-Mike Sullivan, WBA Hall of Fame sports broadcaster in Eau Claire @Michael10075034
-Pete Knutson, iHeart Eau Claire sports director and the WBA's Medium Market PBP person of the year @SportingPete
-Mike Pilch, sports update guy and host in Madison and Milwaukee @mdpilch
-Mitch Nelles, Milwaukee sports radio host @mitchnelles
-Joel Finkelman, Madison producer/host of BIG Sports Saturday @joelfinkelman
-Spenser Williams, Milwaukee sports producer @SpenserWilliams
-Jimmie Kaska, calling games due to sunny weather since 1985 @jimmiekaska

All photos: Getty Images

What do you make of the Chicago Cubs postponing Saturday's game so early, and the Milwaukee Brewers' response to the decision?

Mike Heller: Not really sure what to make of it. It seems to me that the Cubs must have had another motive at play. Teams are reluctant to postpone games at any time, and now this will be made up as a weekday game. Fishy.

Drew Olson: It seemed fishy. The Cubs’ bullpen was chewed up, and they had a bunch of player transactions on Saturday. Then, they brought Jason Heyward back from the DL on Sunday. The Cubs are too smart to ignore a weather forecast, so there had to be some kind of baseball-related reason. I think the Brewers were justified in bringing it up on Sunday. Now, they forfeit a day off just after the series with Baltimore [in July].

Brian Posick: I raised an eyebrow. They played in miserable weather Friday but didn't even try on Saturday, when the weather was better? The Cubs have enough money (since raising ticket prices) to hire their own meteorologist and get the forecast right.

Armen Saryan: It does raise an eyebrow or two. It's hard to say if there was truly any nefarious activity, or if it will make a real difference in this season, but it does make it a bit more fun when there is some heat between the two teams.

Mike Pilch: I spent years calling minor league baseball games from the A through AAA levels, and seeing a team postpone a game due to the slightest chance of bad weather is nothing new.  It’s usually done when a team’s pitching staff has been overused (as the Cubs had been), or they are dealing with a plethora of injuries.  It’s also something that has happened in Major League Baseball for over 100 years (specifically in the pre-World War II years). It’s certainly easy to understand the Brewers' frustration with the situation, as they had been playing well and knew they had the Cubs' backs to the wall due to a burned-out pitching staff, but those are the advantages of playing at home, whether someone feels its right or not.

Jon Arias: Not sure exactly what to think yet. It makes for a good conspiracy theory that the Cubs needed more time to rest up their bullpen, but financially it doesn't make sense for the team. They also give up an off-day later in the season when they might need it more.

Mike Sullivan: It was a blatant attempt to get a maximum crowd… it had nothing to do with the Brewers, but I don’t blame them for complaining.

Pete Knutson: Being in a league that doesn’t pay their players (the Northwoods League) since they’re all in college, I’m always on the side of postponing if the field is or might become dangerous to play on. Player safety should always be paramount and I think that goes for professionals at the highest level. In this case, it probably was a little premature that the Cubs called it so early. Regardless, you can’t use those decisions as excuses for how you play on the field. The fun part of the Brewers reaction is that it might get this rivalry back to a more contentious level than it has been in recent years.

Spenser Williams: I definitely think it was gamesmanship on the part of the Cubs. I'm glad David Stearns and Craig Counsell kind of called them out on it.

Mitch Nelles: For the Cubs, it's a great way to try to change the momentum of their season. But, the Brewers should be pissed – it’s a JV move, and it didn’t even rain!

Joel Finkelman: I think it shows the Cubs are a little scared of the Brewers. (I'm kidding of course, but the Crew had thumped them the night before and were playing great baseball heading into that series). Why else call off a home game when the forecast clearly showed it would clear up enough to be able to play? Cowards, I say!

Jimmie Kaska: I was a little surprised at how early the decision came. It was early enough that the radio network didn't even bother with a pregame show. The response is interesting because if the Cubs really were trying to--wait for it--douse the red-hot Brewers with some cold water, it's a pretty ridiculous way to go about doing it. It's also hilarious given how the Cubs started the whole Eric Thames-is-on-PEDs rumor... I guess these teams might not like each other? It was also a bobblehead game, so the fans that lined up for it (first 10,000 fans got a "Final Out" bobblehead) probably weren't happy.

As well as the Brewers are playing: Have your expectations changed for this season based on the start to the year?

Mike Heller: My Brewers expectations haven’t changed much. I thought they could be a high-70 wins team—now I think they can flirt with being a few games either side of .500. The cool thing is, the Brewers have you hoping for more. Fans want to have hope—that hasn’t been in play since the last month of 2014.

Mike Sullivan: Yes, I think they will finish closer to .500 than I originally expected.

Mike Pilch: Somewhat.  I thought they were a 72-78 win team, and I had them pegged for 75.  I like what I had seen from their young position players last season, and felt this team could be in the top five in runs scored in the National League.  I also thought they’d be a “softball team," because I didn’t trust their pitching.  They are currently sixth in the NL in ERA, and their ERA+ is 107, meaning they are seven percent better than league average when you take into account their ballpark (this is the only sabermetric stat I look at for pitchers). I still feel as if the starting pitching will falter some more, though the addition of Wily Peralta to the bullpen mix is very intriguing.  Still, it will be hard to win throughout a six month season if the starters don’t give you a chance. 

Armen Saryan: Your instinct is to always change them based on how things are unfolding. I think it's prudent to try and resist that. But, there is no reason to bury one's head in the sand either if this continues. No one expected playoffs, or even .500 from this team to start the year, so it would be unfair to still expect that, even with their start.

Drew Olson: Nope. It’s a loooooong season. I’ve learned not to be fooled by what happens in April and May. Guys who look like Hall of Famers often spiral into oblivion, and guys who look like they are on their way to selling insurance can get hot and make a run at the MVP. I’m pleasantly surprised by what’s happened.

Joel Finkelman: My expectations have not changed. This team is due for a regression in a number of categories, and some of them are already starting. Eric Thames has cooled off, and his legs appear to be shot just a quarter of the way into the year. I'm predicting a DL stint for him very shortly. He was hobbled during the Mother's Day game, missed a few after that, then got taken out of the game on Sunday. Nagging injuries that 'just won't go away' eventually make a player go away for a bit. Pitching has not been great all year, but now it appears Chase Anderson has remembered his name isn't actually Cy Young. Getting Junior Guerra back should be good, but will he be able to step into a full load right out of the gates? I'm not so sure. 76 wins.

Jimmie Kaska: No. They may finish a little better perhaps than last year, but it's likely not a team heading for the playoffs. Plenty has been written about pitching cluster luck and how hitting comes and goes. Eventually, Milwaukee will regress to the mean. The hot start has been enjoyable, though.

Brian Posick: My expectations remain the same. It's May. Let's see where they are after the All-Star break.

Mitch Nelles: Nope. I still think between 73-77 wins for the Brewers.

Jon Arias: Not so much yet. I'll wait later into the season to change my win totals for the year.

Pete Knutson: My expectations are still the same. I don’t think they have the arms to go as far as people are maybe hoping after this great start. If they are still in contention nearing the trade deadline, and can find another solid starter and a shutdown guy in the 'pen, I would reserve the right to change that opinion. Look at the Cubs last year. Do they win the World Series if they don’t make the move for Chapman? Probably not, so a move or two for pitching may be all the Brewers need to become the real deal.

Spenser Williams: Yes! I'm hoping they make the playoffs.

If Milwaukee can stay a handful of games over .500 into July near the trade deadline, do you think the team should speed up the rebuild and deal prospects for players to help them win sooner--or right now?

Drew Olson: I don’t think the mission changes. They aren’t going to trade Lewis Brinson because they are .500 and need another starter or a bullpen arm. The focus is on being good in two or three years, and then being good for about five years beyond that. I don’t think they’ll change the paradigm.

Brian Posick: Absolutely not! The plan is to build for the future, yes, but build to be a playoff contender on an annual basis, not a one-hit wonder.

Mitch Nelles: Hell no! If they do, I will go to Miller Park and challenge David Stearns to a fight!

Armen Saryan: No! Stay the course. Don't let the temptation derail your plan. Don't eat the apple!

Mike Pilch: No.  You have to stay the course.  Don’t deviate from your plan.  This team won't be a playoff team in 2017, but they have shown a good nucleus of young players that should get better in the next two years.  If you can deal Ryan Braun for more prospects, do it, just make sure you aren’t trading him to trade him.  If you stay with your player development program, this team could contend in 2019.  Teams like the Cubs, Indians, Astros, Giants and Cardinals don’t deviate from their plan and look where they’ve been.  Even the Yankees of the late ‘90’s early ‘00’s were built through the farm system.  Don’t let emotion get the better of you.

Mike Heller: The Brewers should do what’s best to protect the “build” of the franchise. If deals present themselves that allow for a boost to what’s happening in 2017 without a significant dip into the talent pool in the system—then go ahead. Otherwise—stay the course.

Spenser Williams: No, stay the course at the deadline, do not make any major moves that will affect the rebuilding process.

Jimmie Kaska: Hold the line. Look at what the Houston Astros are doing, and then ask yourself if you would like to see the Brewers in that position. Milwaukee didn't even have to bottom out in this rebuild. Would be a shame to blow it all up now for a shot at a wild card, when there could be more to play for in only a couple of years on a regular basis.

Joel Finkelman: I do not think they should be thinking about trading any of their top prospects under any circumstances. Here's a thought exercise. If the Brewers are in contention late in the year, it will be the exact situation as the Boston Celtics in 2017. Sure, the Celtics may have been able to trade the now-#1 overall pick and a few other chips to get a guy like Jimmy Butler or Paul George, but would that have won them the Eastern Conference? No, since LeBron James is still playing every night. Instead, they sat on their assets, understood what they had, and decided to keep building their team with an eye on the future (plus a probable Gordon Heyward signing). That's the right move for any team in that situation, and the Brewers need to stay patient if they were presented a similar opportunity. Never mortgage the future for the right now... particularly if the 'right now' has an extremely limited chance of actually succeeding.

Mike Sullivan: They have a few intriguing trade chips. Ryan Braun and Keon Broxton might bring back decent returns, but I don’t want them to sell the farm for success in 2017.

Jon Arias: I think they should make a trade if they think it makes sense for this season and the future.

Pete Knutson: If you’re in contention and you think the moves you can make can get you to a point where you feel confident you can win in the postseason, you can unload some young talent. It’s always risky, but if you have a realistic chance to win now, you have to take it.

Sports Roundtable: What do we make of the Milwaukee Brewers' success so far in 2017? - Thumbnail Image

Sports Roundtable: What do we make of the Milwaukee Brewers' success so far in 2017?

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