Originally posted on Fox Sports Wisconsin  |  Last updated 5/19/12
MILWAUKEE The Brewers clubhouse had its fair share of big personalities in 2011, as Nyjer Morgan's antics made headlines and guys like Prince Fielder served as motivators to a team that struggled out of the gate but eventually won the NL Central title. This season though, as Milwaukee slips deeper and deeper into an early season spiral, Brewers manager Ron Roenicke has distinctly noticed the lack of those voices and personalities in the same clubhouse. "As a team last year, we knew where we were," Roenicke said before Saturday's loss to the Twins. "We had a lot of personalities on the team that I thought meshed really well. This year, we've got a quiet group. Sometimes when things aren't going real well, you need someone to loosen it up a little bit. I know some guys are trying to do that, but it's hard." That 2011 roster was filled with personalities that thrived off being outspoken, as guys like Fielder, Mark Kotsay, Craig Counsell, Jerry Hairston, and LaTroy Hawkins used their experience to help motivate their teammates and keep morale high. Those personalities haven't completely diminished from the Brewers clubhouse, but even so, catcher Jonathan Lucroy said the different set of voices shouldn't necessarily make for a different product on the field. "We had some older players that were verbal, and they let you know," Lucroy said. "This year, (there's) a little different dynamic with the team. but just because they're verbal doesn't mean we can't play. Honestly, I don't see anything different every day I come to the field it's during game time we get out there, stuff's not going our way." In the past week, that may be an understatement. Already in the midst of an alarming stretch, the Brewers dropped five of their six games in the past this week to three lesser opponents the Mets, the Astros, and the league-worst Twins. Saturday's loss dropped Milwaukee to six games below .500, 6-12 games out of first place in the NL Central. If the Brewers weren't in such a tailspin, the personalities in the clubhouse might not matter as much, Roenicke said. But considering the current state of the team, Milwaukee might need a stable, motivating personality more than ever. "Once we start playing well, it's not necessary to have that," Roenicke said. "But when things are not going well, that's when you really need the personalities to keep things loose, to keep things positive. We're trying to do it as a staff, but sometimes players get a little tired of hearing us." The obvious choice would be Morgan, who has anything but a quiet, reserved personality. But before his 3-for-5 effort on Saturday night, Morgan had been struggling mightily to get on base, as his batting average dipped and stayed below .200. Those struggles have quieted the normally vocal Morgan, who, at times last season, was even asked to calm his antics. Now, Roenicke would gladly take an injection of life into the clubhouse, courtesy of Tony Plush. "I'd rather him step it up this year," Roenicke said. "It's hard for him to be that guy he was last year when things aren't going well for him. Unfortunately, you just can't be yourself. Last year, everything was going so well, he could be himself. This year, I'd like him to be a little more of that guy, but he's really concentrating on trying to figure out to get his swing back and start playing like he did last year." It's been a struggle all-around for the Brewers to be themselves and lively through their latest stretch of sub-par play. And for a team that harnessed the personality of its clubhouse last season, riding it all the way to within a sniff of the World Series, it's the relative quiet, looming through the clubhouse on a night like Saturday the game ending in a devastating 11th inning solo home run that could be most concerning. Follow Ryan Kartje on Twitter
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