Brewers to focus on improving contact plays this season

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- The goal of a baseball team is to score more runs than the opposition. As simple as that sounds, the Brewers cost themselves the chance to do so several times last season on one simple play. This year, they vow to do better.

There are a slew of things the Brewers would not like to see occur again this season.

In 2013, they had physical, pharmaceutical and philosophical problems on their way to a 74 and 88 season, and don't forget their dreadful execution on contact plays.

"I still am a big believer in it. We're trying to push runs across any way we can, and being aggressive on the base paths is something that we always do and that's not going to change. We are just going to try to be a little smarter about it. Last year, there were some things that shouldn't happen at the Major League level, but I like the aggressive style that Ron brings, and I think that it works out. Maybe not last year, but it works out in the long run," Brewers outfielder Logan Schafer said.

"I think that's one thing - base running. You can always get better. I think with the contact play, it's just -- you have some luck with it sometimes, and you have bad luck with it," Brewers second baseman Scooter Gennett said.

"I think we had some times where we had a few more mistakes than we wanted to. I think coming into this spring, I think we're going to focus a little bit more on the fundamentals -- focus a little bit more on running bases aggressively, because you don't want to take the aggressiveness away from the player. You just want to be a little bit smarter maybe at times," Brewers infielder Jeff Bianchi said.

It may seem as though the best way to address those problems with the contact play would be in base running drills during Spring Training, but the manager says what the guys do in the cage has just as much effect.

"I think some of it is, it's one of those years where it didn't work, but a lot of it is the approach we have at the plate. We need to do a better job of how we drive in that runner at third. When you think of the middle of the field and driving the ball there, you're able to get that guy in a lot more often. We had a lot of ground balls to third, and that's what the pitcher is trying to get us to do, so we've got to be a lot better at the plate," Brewers Manager Ron Roenicke said.

The Brewers maintain that last year was an aberration -- that they will be able to look at getting a runner to third base with less than two outs as an opportunity to score this year -- as opposed to the likelihood of making an out at the plate.

The Brewers play the Royals in exhibition games Friday night and Saturday afternoon. Then they host the Braves to start the season for real, on Opening Day, Monday, March 31st.