What to do, mediocre Brew Crew?

Ryan Braun is delivering MVP-like numbers this year. (REUTERS)

Ryan Braun is delivering MVP-like numbers this year. (REUTERS)

MIKE RUTSEY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:31 PM ET

Like a lot of other teams, the Milwaukee Brewers are trying to decide just which way they should go.

Sitting in fourth place in the National League Central, the Brewers sit 81/2 games out of first with a 30-36 record overall.

Should they become buyers, if over the next six weeks they make significant strides in the standings? Or should they be sellers, with starting pitchers Shaun Marcum and Zack Greinke being the top free agent prizes they can place on the trade table?

Any way you slice it, the 2012 season has not gone like last year when the Brewers set a franchise record with 96 wins.

The Brew Crew were expected to sag, at least offensively, when free agent Prince Fielder said: 'No' to their offers to re-sign and instead headed to the Detroit Tigers.

They also expected to lose their MVP left fielder Ryan Braun for 50 games after he tested positive for elevated levels of testosterone. Braun challenged the suspension and to the surprise of all, an arbitration panel ruled 2-1 in his favour due to some screwups in the urine sample collection procedure.

Braun is delivering MVP-like numbers this season. He is hitting .316 with 47 RBIs and a league-high 19 home runs, despite the absence of Fielder and his bat.

As far as Blue Jays fans go, the depressing news is that Braun is heating up and his history has shown him to excel in interleague play.

In fact, when playing against American League teams, Braun is on a 22-game hitting streak. Over that stretch he is hitting .402 (35-for-87) with six home runs and 25 RBIs.

"That's an irrelevant statistic," Braun said after a two-homer game against the Twins Saturday. "What does that cover, three years probably? I don't know. And seven different teams? That's cool, but I don't think there's any rhyme or reason to why that happens."

While Braun has once again excelled, Aramis Ramirez and Rickie Weeks have not lived up to expectations.

Ramirez was signed as a bat to take some of the sting our of Fielder's departure. The year before with the Cubs, Ramirez belted 26 homers with 93 RBIs and a .306 average.

So far this season he is hitting .252 with seven homers and 35 RBIs.

The biggest disappointment in the Brewers lineup, though, is Weeks who after 62 games is hitting all of .177 with 16 RBIs.

"But it has to bother people," manager Ron Roenicke said of Weeks' lack of offensive success. "You can't just go through things, as good as a player as he was -- an all-star last year -- and have him play like this and say everything's fine. He knows where he is and what's going on."

Which is exactly what the Brewers are trying to determine about themselves.

BLUE JAYS AT BREWERS

MONDAY 8:10 p.m., RHP Henderson Alvarez vs. LHP Randy Wolf

TUESDAY 8:10 p.m., TBA vs. RHP Shaun Marcum

WEDNESDAY 2:10 p.m., TBA vs. RHP Yovani Gallardo

RUTSEY'S TAKE

The Milwaukee Brewers of 2012 are not in the same class as the Brewers of 2011. Besides losing the big bat of Prince Fielder, they have also lost their magic. The Brew Crew doesn't have the look of a team that could go on a run between now and the July 31 trade deadline. They look to be sellers with free agent right-handers Zack Grienke and Shaun Marcum expected to draw a lot of interest.

PREDICTION

The Blue Jays can't seem to win for Henderson Alvarez and then will roll out two mystery starters. Given those factors and their usual woeful road record against National League teams, we like the Brewers to win two.

BREWERS WHO'S HOT

LF Ryan Braun is putting up MVP-type numbers. He is on a 12-game hitting streak.

RF Aoki Norichika is not a power threat but over his past 11 games he has gone 14-for-40 (.350) with 10 runs scored plus two home run.

Former Blue Jays starter Shaun Marcum goes against his former mates on Tuesday. The veteran right-hander has won his past three decisions.

BREWERS WHO'S COLD

LHP Randy Wolf has gone just 2-5 with a 5.06 ERA in 14 starts with his last win occurring April 30th.

OF/1B Corey Hart is supposed to supply some thump in the middle of the lineup but in his past six games he has gone 5-for-31 (.161).

The biggest disappointment for the Brewers this season has been 2B Rickie Weeks, an all-star in 2011, who after 62 games is hitting just .177.


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