Brewers manager Ron Roenicke says this year's Milwaukee team might be too sedate.
Prince Fielder, Nyjer Morgan and the Brewers were a boisterous bunch last year on their way to winning the National League Central. But Milwaukee went into Saturday's game against Minnesota a season-worst seven games below .500.
Roenicke says the team is playing and working hard, but that something is missing from a group that lost Fielder, LaTroy Hawkins and other clubhouse personalities since the playoffs.
"This year, we've got a quiet group," Roenicke said. "Sometimes, when things aren't going really well, you need somebody to loosen it up a little bit. I know some guys are trying to do that, but it's hard."
Roenicke, regarded as one of the more reserved managers in the majors, watched Milwaukee get drubbed 11-3 Friday night by the Twins, who came in with the worst record in the big leagues. It was the Brewers' third straight loss and fifth in six games.
"We haven't figured out what kind of group this is going to be and the confidence you need," he said.
"We knew where we were last year. We knew what kind of team we were," he said. "We had a lot of personalities on the team that I thought meshed really well."
Roenicke would like to see Morgan become more vocal in the clubhouse and the dugout. The outfielder was that way last year, and sometimes Roenicke had to rein him in when Morgan's excitable personality became a distraction.
"I'd rather have him step it up this year. I've had conversations with him," Roenicke said. "It's really hard for him, because he's not playing that well, to be that guy he was last year. Unfortunately, sometimes you can't be yourself."
"Last year, things were going so well, he could be himself. This year, I'd like him to be a little bit more of that guy. But he's really concentrating, trying to figure out how to get his swing back and start playing like he did last year," he said.
Fielder, who departed Milwaukee for the Detroit Tigers as a free agent, commanded a presence on and off the field.
"Prince is a big personality that has an edge," Roenicke said. "He was able to loosen up a clubhouse, but because of the edge, he'd say 'Let's go. Enough is enough.' When things are not going well, that's when you really need the personalities, to keep things loose and keep things positive."
Roenicke said that the coaching staff this season team is trying to replicate that atmosphere with little success.
"Sometimes players get a little tired of hearing us," Roenicke said.