For the most part I am a very pessimistic fan. I think that setting expectations low for the teams that I am a fan of allows me to deal with extreme disappointment better (case in point, I predicted that my favorite football team, the Denver Broncos, would get killed in the Super Bowl, so when they did it didn’t feel as bad.)
So hopefully you all can understand my tepidness to talk about the Milwaukee Brewers’ hot start.
On one hand, I’m pumped. No matter what you think about baseball being a 162 game season, no team would give up the chance to start off at 15-5. On the other hand I still have a gut feeling that the Brewers will eventually regress to the point that everyone expects them to be by the end of the season (namely right around .500.)
Should Brewers fans be optimistic about the season now after the hot start, or should they still be somewhat reserved? Here are some things to think about regarding the Brewers hot start:
Pitching: The addition of Matt Garza hasn’t helped the Brewers pitching staff as much as the resurgence of Francisco Rodriguez. A few years ago, K-Rod was basically chased out of town while he was in the middle of one of the worst seasons of his career. This season however, he has taken control of the Brewers closer role.
K-Rod already has 8 saves in the first 20 games and has yet to allow a run. If K-Rod can continue this dominance, the rest of the bullpen will be great.
Jim Henderson, a good closer in his own right, can be used as a set up guy along Brandon Kintzler (who is currently on the DL but was cooking before getting injured), Will Smith, Zach Duke and Tyler Thornburg.
The bullpen has been used a lot already this season, but hopefully the guys can keep up the good work that they’ve displayed so far.
Carlos Gomez and Ryan Braun: Gomez and Braun are basically the undisputed best players on the team. When they play well, the team generally sees a lot of success. A huge problem with the team last year was Braun’s injury/suspension. Without him there was a huge gap that needed to be filled.
This year, however, Braun has been pretty solid. He has 6 homeruns so far, including this beauty in the top of the ninth against the Pirates:
Also, while we’re on the subject anyway, I have absolutely no issue with Carlos Gomez being Carlos Gomez. Would prefer if he didn’t get into brawls, but I have no issue with him being a fiery competitor.
Luck: Okay, the Brewers start has been the bi-product of great pitching and (for the most part) timely hitting. However, there have been a few plays that involved straight luck. I’m not complaining, that’s what happens when you’re hot.
Obviously, these kinds of plays will even out over the course of the 162 games, but just for your viewing pleasure I wanted to end my column with this, Martin Maldonado’s hit that ripped the cover off the ball (note: could have also gone with Scooter Gennett’s 2 RBI strikeout, but I thought that this was more impressive.)