By Rick Braun, Special to   Published Apr 23, 2015 at 1:06 PM Photography: David Bernacchi

Sometimes history repeats itself. Sometimes a September swoon is not just a poorly timed slump, but a sign of things to come.

In 1983, the season following the team's thrilling trip to the World Series that set Milwaukee on fire, the Brewers seemed set for an encore. On Aug. 25, the Brewers were 20 games over .500 and a half-game ahead of the Baltimore Orioles.

Over the next 24 games, the Brewers went 6-18, including a 10-game losing streak, and were hopelessly out of things. They went from a half-game lead to a 14-game deficit in 3 ½ weeks. After the season, the Brewers replaced hugely popular manager Harvey Kuenn with Rene Lachemann.

No matter. Things kept going downhill in 1984 at an accelerated rate as the Brewers finished dead last at 67-94. Lachemann was fired with three games remaining in the season, although he did manage those final three games.

As fans of today’s team remember, the Brewers spent 150 days in first place a season ago before another huge bout of September doldrums. The sadness has continued right through April with the worst 14-game start in franchise history.

Even worse, three of the regulars in the opening day lineup – Carlos Gomez, Jonathan Lucroy and Scooter Gennett – are now on the disabled list. Then again, none of those three were tearing it up at all. No one really is.

The numbers are startling. Of the Brewers’ 13 losses, only three were by fewer than three runs. They’re not just losing; they’re being manhandled. In their eight-game losing streak, the Brewers scored more than three runs just once – Tuesday night when their 10 runs were still well short of the Cincinnati Reds’ 16 runs.

"Would I rather be a little inconsistent? Probably, because the inconsistency is where you maybe you get shutout (one night) and then maybe you score five and win a game," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "But to be consistently one or two runs, you’re not going to win many games unless you’ve got true number one pitchers, and they can throw shutouts. So that part is not good, but I also know what we’re capable of when we swing right. I know the injuries hurt, but I still think we have enough firepower to win games."

Roenicke said those words before Tuesday’s game, in which Mike Fiers allowed grand slams in back-to-back innings. As happens with struggling teams, when the pitching is there, the hitting isn’t; when the hitting is there, the pitching isn’t.

The Brewers put on a brave face after Tuesday night’s loss dropped them to 2-12, seven games behind first-place St. Louis.

"It’s just a shame you score 10 runs and aren’t even close to winning the game," Roenicke said. "But real good job by a lot of the guys offensively. We’ll just see if we can get a good outing pitching and see if we can continue the offense."

All that aside, the real concern now has to be that last September’s dip wasn’t just a month-long slump but a real reflection of the talent level.

"I think you probably look at that a little more," Roenicke said. "I look at it more like I’m really surprised from the at-bats that we saw in spring training – our starting lineup really swung the bats well. I’m really surprised this has gone on this long. I think if you look back at what happened in September then you might as well as look back at what happened in April last year where I think we scored more runs than anybody in baseball. That’s the same team.

"So whether they’re great in April or not very good in September, it’s still the same group of guys. You know it’s in there. I’d say if they hadn’t hit at all, ever, I’d really be concerned because now we’re wondering if we’re going to hit. We’re going to hit. I just don’t know when."

They did so on Tuesday then watched the pitching blow up. But the truth is that even when the hitting was awful, the pitching wasn’t exactly keeping the team close. Again, remember that 10 of the 13 losses were by three runs or more.

The five starting pitchers have combined for a 2-11 record with a 5.65 earned run average.

"One thing that happens when stuff is going like that is everybody starts trying to do too much," said veteran starting pitcher Kyle Lohse. "As a starting staff we’ve got to fight that, and the hitters, they’ve got to fight putting everything on themselves. You’ve just got to do your job as best as you can. Doing the small things like that, that’s what’s going to turn it around."

Khris Davis, one of the few hitters actually hitting, agreed.

"We can make up a lot of ground as a team by just living pitch to pitch and trusting each other," Davis said. "I think we’ve got that snowball effect going, but things will turn around. We’ve just got to keep working hard and keeping our chins up."

The hitting turned around for at least a game on Tuesday. Roenicke is waiting for his starting pitchers to do the same.

"It’s concerning; it always is," Roenicke said. "Some of those starters are guys that are really consistent that we think every time out have a chance to win."

Through 15 games, the Brewers are at record-lows. A sad September has been followed by an awful April. If things don’t change quickly, a repeat of the really ugly 1984 season could make for a long summer at Miller Park.